It isn’t easy to trust someone else to care for your fur baby while you are away. Unless you are lucky enough to have someone capable who can mind the pets, a good boarding kennel is often the best and most affordable solution. When you find the right one, your dog will look forward to their holiday there as much as you are looking forward to yours.
Both the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain have regulations that set a minimum standard for dog boarding kennels. Each county in Ireland also sets its own rules regarding dog kennels, which can vary. Basically, the bar is quite low and kennels are required to provide each animal with their own secure space large enough for them to move around comfortably with adequate protection from the elements. (Dogs from the same household are generally allowed to share space.) Dogs must have food, clean water and daily exercise.
A Home Away from Home for Your Hound
What dog owners really want is to know their pet will be safe, secure and happy during their stay. So we look for criteria beyond the legal minimum. Here’s a few suggestions.
- Get recommendations from your vet, the dog rescue or breeder where you got your dog and trusted dog owner friends.
- Ensure the facility is secure. Ideally, the area where you hand your dog to the staff will be enclosed to prevent a nervous dog from escaping. Each individual kennel should have sides that are six feet or taller and a latch or bolt on the gate or door that a dog cannot open.
- The owner and staff should be knowledgeable about canine behaviour and health – but also happy to listen to you about your dog’s needs and contact a vet should a dog become injured or ill. Ask if they will contact your regular vet or use their own. If you dog has an on-going medical condition, using your familiar vet is best. If your dog takes medication, ask them how they give it and how they confirm that the dog really swallowed it.
- Exercise is a requirement under regulations, but it is good to get details and confirm you are happy with the amount and type of exercise. Your dog should be walked on a lead or allowed run in a securely fenced field. Ask if your dog will be walked individually or in a group, and if it is in a group, ask how they deal with conflict between dogs.
- Generally it is best not to switch a dog’s food abruptly. A good kennel will be happy for you to provide your dog’s regular food for their stay.
Remember, while a good kennel can be a real holiday for your dog, you don’t have to settle. If you aren’t happy with the boarding kennels available to you, you can always look into a professional pet sitter who will stay at your house or visit daily to care for your dog.